Joe Levin
Eugene McDermott Forty Acres Scholarship
Forty Acres Scholars Class of 2021
Pacific Palisades, CA
High School
Harvard-Westlake School

Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by stories and the unbelievable power they hold over us. Stories create empathy, and empathy is how you can start to change people’s perspectives to create a better world. That’s why I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, to go find and listen to strangers’ stories and share them with the rest of the world. I've written articles that have appeared in Texas Monthly magazine and serve as a producer on "Why Sports Matter," a podcast executive produced by Tom Brady, Michael Strahan and Gotham Chopra. When I'm not writing, you’ll probably find me in line at Franklin’s BBQ, eating some Bob Armstrong dip at Matt’s El Rancho, or watching whatever obscure French New Wave film the Austin Film Society is showing. Come up and tell me your story. I’d love to hear it.

Journalism; Plan II Honors

Honors Program 
Plan II Honors

Other Academic Interests
Film, politics, history

Extracurricular Activities
Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, Plan II/KIPP Mentorship Program, sports blog

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?
Growing up, every Saturday during football season, I would share queso and brisket with a big group of Tex-pats who had gotten together to watch their Longhorns play football from Los Angeles. We’d rotate houses and who was manning the smoker. As the years went by, the group grew larger. Any Longhorn was welcome. I remember the morning of Texas-OU one year, Dad and I were picking up breakfast burritos for everyone (unfortunately, breakfast tacos are hard to come by in L.A.). We were, of course, dressed head-to-toe in burnt orange. As we waited, we heard, “Hook ‘em horns!” We turned around, saw a stranger dressed exactly the same way, and started talking to this newfound Longhorn. We invited him over to watch with us. He did, and he comes by every weekend since. Growing up and seeing the huge hearts and immense pride shared by Texas Exes across the country, it was impossible not to want to become a part of that community myself.

What do you want prospective students to know about the University of Texas? 
A couple of years ago, I was in Germany with a friend who goes to Michigan. He saw a man wearing a Wolverines shirt, so he went up to the stranger and said, "Go blue!" The man just replied, "Ok..." and walked away. A couple hours later, I saw a man wearing burnt orange. I hollered a "Hook 'em!" at him. We spent the rest of the day with him and his wife, and later, they bought us dinner.

It's not hyperbole to say that there is no school in the country with a community as proud of its school as the University of Texas. Being on campus has made it easy to see why: professors are world class and approachable, Austin is a special city with so much to do, and then, of course, there are the football games. I could go on, but let me just say that anything you could possibly want from a college can be found on the 40 Acres. And even when you're away—even if you're an ocean away—you might just tell someone "Hook 'em" and score yourself a free dinner. College kids love free food, right?